By Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA – The Federal Government says it has not been able to pay the statutory 5% to the Ikoyi whistle blower due to controversy surrounding the claim.
The minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed made this known on Tuesday during his visit to Leadership Newspaper.
He said the issue is a bit complicated because two persons are currently laying claims to the amount and since the identity of the real owner cannot be disclosed, it behooves on the government to follow due process in arriving at the true owner of the money.
‘‘It is a bit complicated because more than one person is claiming the money and we do not want to disclose the identity of the Whistle blower.
‘‘We have a very unique situation in our hand at the moment; it is so complex and complicated. One said we should not pay the other and the other one has gone to court.
‘Now we have the authentic whistle blower and fake whistle blower, we hope to find out the real person. Ordinarily, a whistle blower should be anonymous. However, we are working very closely to ensure that such thing never happens again.’’
On IPOB, he said he was certain the matter would be resolved at the end of the day, giving that the country has a leader who is capable of tackling the challenge.
‘‘There was propaganda around IPOB. I was very certain then that the unity of this country is not in doubt. We have seen governments in this country, had leaders who have gone through wars and know what the implications are. We have at the helm of affairs, a leadership that is capable of tackling the challenge.
‘‘Though, there was a lot of propaganda, but I knew that at the end of the day, the matter would be resolved.’’
On housing, the minister said the administration had spent N70 billion on land acquisition and construction of housing estates across the country in the last two years. This he said is far more than N1.8 billion spent by the last administration in five years.
Speaking on how much recovered from looters, the Minister said the Administration had recovered about N8 billion, $53 million from Whistle blowers and in addition recovered 54 houses and N78 billion from an individual.
On the visit, he said the visit was to thank the leadership of newspaper for its support and to seek more support in the three cardinal objectives of the government: Fighting corruption, insecurity and revamping the economy.
On Free Press, he said the Administration would do everything to ensure that the press operates without any form of intimidation from government. He also promised to assist the media industry with some funding as soon as the economy improves.
‘‘Today, we are back. This time, it is to say thank you for all your support. Let me put it on record: Leadership newspaper has been very professional in its reporting of this Administration. You have supported us and you have criticized us, and each time you have been guided by the ethics of your profession – fairness, accuracy, impartiality, truthfulness, and objectivity.
‘‘We have not always agreed with your editorial stance on issues. For example, when we first raised the alarm on the dangers of fake news and disinformation, you wrote an editorial that seemed to have dismissed our concern at the time. I am happy to say that you have eventually seen the light, as the issue of fake news and disinformation, and the danger it poses to the polity, has become topical. We hope you will write another editorial to highlight the dangers posed by fake news and disinformation, which is now a global problem.
‘‘I want to state clearly that we also have a success story to tell you, especially in the three cardinal programmes that form the plank of our Administration’s policy – Fight against insecurity, war against corruption and the revamping of the economy.
‘‘We have put Boko Haram on the run. Occasionally, they attack soft targets, but even that is being tackled with intelligence-driven measures. We are tackling insecurity comprehensively, whether it is Farmer/Herders clash, Cattle rustling or kidnapping. Only this morning, the Federal Government launched the ”Policy Framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism,” he added